Kimchi Jjim is one of those ugly but very delicious dishes. It’s a shame not too many foreigners know about it. It’s rarely served at Korean restaurants, as it more of a homecooked dish.
To make this special dish, we will braise aged (well-fermented) Kimchi. Kimchi, as it ferments, starts to taste sour. And that sour taste is what produces a very flavorful broth. Sounds counter-intuitive, no?
Furthermore, if you braise Kimchi in its own broth, the overall flavor is concentrated but the sharp pungent notes are rounded out. What you are left with is a silky, melt-in-your-mouth Kimchi.
It’s the perfect banchan for Kimchi lovers. The taste is deep, complex, and soothing. You will most likely have to go for a second bowl of rice. Another rice-bowl killa – I tell ya!
Kimchi Jjim - Braised Kimchi with Pork
Yield 3-4 people
Kimchi Jjim is all about braising aged Kimchi. Turning it into a concentrated, melt-in-your-mouth banchan!
- Aged Kimchi - 1/4 of a whole head (or 2 cups)
- Pork - 200-300 grams
- Tofu - 1/2 block
- Spring onion - arm's length
- Sesame oil - 2 Tablespoons
- Brown sugar - 1 Tablespoon
- Mirim - 3 Tablespoons (optional)
- Half the 1/4 head of Kimchi. Or if you are using chopped Kimchi, measure 2 cups. Then place the Kimchi into a large frying pan (with high walls).
- Place the pork into a small mixing bowl. Pour in mirim and let it soak in it for 10 minutes (optional).
- Chop the spring onion into small pieces. Cut tofu into small blocks. Cut pork into bite-sized strips.
- Place frying pan on a medium heat. Pour sesame oil around the kimchi. Then sauté the Kimchi and flip it occasionally so it doesn't burn (reduce heat if necessary). Sauté until you see the Kimchi start to develop a golden-orange color.
- Then add in the pork pieces. And add in the brown sugar. Continue to sauté everything until you see the pork pieces start to lose their pink on the surface. (Note: The pork doesn't need to be fully cooked now)
- At this point, pour in 2 cups of water (or enough water to barely submerge the Kimchi). Raise the heat to a medium-high and bring the stew to a boil. Let it boil and reduce. We will reduce the stew until there is only a small amount of broth left (refer to video). Should take 10-15 minutes.
- When there is a small amount of liquid left, pour in 2 more cups of water. Repeat the process. And reduce the stew (again) until there is only a small amount of broth left.
- Then pour in 2 more cups of water. (This is the 3rd pour - final time). Now place in the tofu and spring onion pieces. During this last boil, we will reduce the broth to only about half its original amount - not the whole amount. When the stew reduces to half, turn off the heat and plate.
- Plate and garnish with spring onions. Cut the stem of the Kimchi before eating. Enjoy with a bowl of hot rice!
- Used aged Kimchi for this recipe
- Make sure to sauté on medium-heat, so you don't burn the Kimchi
- See video below for more details